Can cosmetics be harmful to your eyes?

By Dr. Nadire Erdogan Dib, Ophthalmologist


Dr. Nadire Erdogan Dib

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March 03, 2020

If one were to carefully analyse social media trends today, there is a clear emphasis on the notion of flawless beauty. From having the perfect body type to having the right facial features, every little detail related to physical appearance has become extremely important. To keep up with the trend, there has been an exponential increase in the number of cosmetic eye products as well. This brings us to another question: Are cosmetic products harmful to the eyes?

Team Eye Consultants tells us how cosmetics can affect eye health:

If eye cosmetics were to be classified broadly, they could be categorized into 3 types:

  • Eye liner and mascara
  • Artificial and extendable eye lashes
  • Colored Contact lenses

Eye Liner and Mascara:

Using an eye liner/eye pencil has become such an essential part in the lives of most women that we barely even consider it to be eye makeup anymore. However, leaving your eyeliner/mascara on when you sleep, could severely impact your eye health and lead to an eye infection. Some eyeliners can also block oil glands around the eyes, leading to other kinds of eye complications.

Another aspect that most women tend to overlook while using an eyeliner is the product’s expiration date. Eye makeup tends to be moist and is perfect breeding ground for scores of bacteria. When you apply such makeup on your eyes you expose yourself to the possibility of eye irritation and infection.

Artificial and extendable eye lashes:

Artificial eye lashes seem to be the perfect alternative to naturally thick, long and dense eye lashes. However, the glue in these eyelashes are not particularly eye-friendly and can lead to a nasty eye infection. Prolonged usage of artificial eye lashes can also cause damage to your real eyelash follicles, leading to stunted growth of real eyelashes.

Failure to properly preserve and maintain artificial eyelashes can also lead to growth of bacteria, which will invariably be transferred into your eye when you use them. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many people have reported allergic reactions while using artificial eyelashes.

Colored contact lenses:

Colored contact lenses that come in various designs and attractive patterns are worn on the eyes, purely for ornamental purposes. Without any medical benefit, these lenses are merely plastic pieces that are often sold without prescriptions. What most people fail to realize is that there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to contact lenses. Wearing colored contact lenses that are not customized based on your eye measurements can lead to eye complications, including dry eyes. They can also cause vision-threatening problems like corneal abrasions, which is caused due to scratches on the cornea.

While the improper use of makeup can be hazardous to your eye, we understand that it may be difficult to avoid eye makeup completely. Here are a few precautions you can take to ensure that your eyes are protected even when you use makeup:

Throw out old mascara: Yes, we understand that makeup is not cheap and you may want to hold on to that branded eye liner which you have barely used. However, using eye products that are more than 3 months old, could do significant damage to your eyes and lead to a serious case of eye infection.

Make it a point to avoid sharing your makeup: Answer this: Would you be comfortable sharing your toothbrush with someone else? The very thought of it evokes a sense of disgust, doesn’t it? The same rule applies to eye makeup as well. Whether it is an applicator, mascara, cotton swabs or contact lenses, make sure to avoid sharing these products and keep them exclusively personal.

Do not sleep with your makeup on: No matter how tired you are, make sure to always wash your eye makeup off, before you hit the bed. Your eyes will thank you for this in the long run.

If you suffer from eye diseases like Blepharitis or Dry eyes, you may need to avoid the use of makeup altogether, as these conditions can typically aggravate eye dryness and crusting. Moreover, if you have had eye surgery in the recent past, it is best to ask your Ophthalmologist if you can resume wearing eye makeup.

If you suspect that you have an eye infection that is a result of improper use of cosmetics, do not hesitate to walk into our center. Our team of professional doctors are experts at determining the cause of eye ailments and will assist you in every possible way.

Additionally, if you are looking for a permanent solution to enhance your eyelashes/eyelids, Eye Consultants is here to help. Our expert surgeons at Eye Consultants are proficient in Blepharoplasty surgery in Dubai and have years of experience in upper and lower lid surgery. 

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